Tanya's Tips: Everyday American Slang

You know that moment when you understand every single word someone is saying, but you have no idea what they mean? That's the challenge of slang!

Are you ready to test your knowledge of American slang? Check out my tips so you're ready to talk like an American.


Play it by Ear

Wanna go to the Statue of Liberty today?

Participant
Participant

Let's play it by ear. I'm not sure what I'll be up to later.

Huh?

Participant
What does play it by ear mean?

Take a Raincheck

So...whaddya think? Statue of Liberty today?

Participant
Participant

Nah, I'm gonna take a raincheck.

Huh?

Participant
What does take a raincheck mean?

Get the Ball Rolling

How should we get from NYC to LA?

Participant
Participant

IDK! I'll get the ball rolling and check out InterExchange's road trip tips.

What?

Participant
What does get the ball rolling mean?

Down to Earth

Don't you just love our new boss?

Participant
Participant

Totally! She's so down to earth.

Huh?

Participant
What does down to earth mean?

Get Ripped Off

I wanna buy a new camera. Can you help?

Participant
Participant

Sure! Let's see what Google says first. You don't wanna get ripped off!

Huh?

Participant
What does get ripped off mean?

Rings a Bell

Hey, do you remember who George Washington is?

Participant
Participant

That name rings a bell... isn't he America's first president?

What?

Participant
What does rings a bell mean?

Drives Me up the Wall

I don't understand baseball! It's a crazy game.

Participant
Participant

I know, it drives me up the wall! But let's try to learn the rules.

What?

Participant
What does drives me up the wall mean?

Kill two Birds with One Stone

Hey, I wanna get a selfie stick and cheap tickets to the Empire State Bldg.

Participant
Participant

Let's kill two birds with one stone and go to the InterExchange Culture Desk!

Huh?

Participant
What does kill two birds with one stone mean?

Pig Out

I'm starving! Wanna get something to eat?

Participant
Participant

Yes! Let's go to a diner and pig out!

What?

Participant
What does pig out mean?

Rip the Bandaid Off

I'm really nervous about being home sick!

Participant
Participant

Me too! But let's just rip the bandaid off and make some new friends!

What?

Participant
What does rip the bandaid off mean?
Tanya

How many slang terms did you know? Can you think of any more? We want to hear from you! Share on Twitter and Facebook to let us know.

Tanya Burovtseva

An international exchange alumna originally from Ukraine, Tanya started her career at InterExchange in 2011. Tanya is passionate about travel and cultural exchange and enjoys meeting J-1 exchange participants at InterExchange events.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation